This is part three of our interview with Garth Bruen, co-founder of KnujOn, an internet compliance company. We talked to him about the KnujOn system, search engine advertising and what’s needed from regulatory bodies to protect Web users from counterfeit and substandard drug solicitations online.
PSM: What steps have search engines like Google and Yahoo taken to alleviate the threat of search engine advertising from unlicensed online pharmacies and sellers?
GB: Not much. Search engine revenue is huge, in the billions annually. The various search companies are at war to corner the market on search engine ads and develop the best tools, which aside from the illicit proliferation are amazing technology. Microsoft’s grand entry into the market with Bing illustrates just how much money is at stake.
Our reports have shown that the most prominent search ads—the bulk of the ads, the highest placed ads and the most frequently returned ads—are for illicit pharmacies. In short, the underground market is spending more money on search engine ads than legal pharmacies. Until someone tells them to stop, it is unlikely they will.
Coming up: Garth talks to PSM about the advertisers and illicit domains shut down by the KnujOn system.
In the meantime, PSM encourages you to keep up with the FDA’s hearing on the promotion of FDA-regulated products online. For more information, visit the FDA’s hearing notice and follow posts tagged #fdasm on Twitter.